Fascinating Theory on Human Sexuality - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 12-06-2008, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://sustainability.open.ac.uk/gar...s/5bys_ch3.htm

And before someone says this doesn't belong in Religious Studies, I want to explain that to me, everything I learn about our origins is highly-interconnected with my faith and relationship with the Lord. One thing I'm realizing is that, the more open I am to the possibility of some Scriptures (such as the creation account), being more allegorical than literal (though every bit as packed with truth), the more evolutionary theory makes sense and doesn't seem to contradict my Christian faith.

Anyhow, I've recently wondered a lot about one key difference between other mammals and humans: other mammals mate when females are in heat (and it's very clear when other female mammal are ovulating), whereas humans mate much more frequently (and it's less clear when human females are ovulating).

Then today I stumbled across the above chapter I linked to on the internet (chapter 3 of The Five Billion Year Story) -- and I was like, wow! -- this totally makes it so clear. At the point when chimpanzees realized it was beneficial to be able to run into open areas to gather food (perhaps due to shrinking forests), and then run back to the shelter of the forest (necessitating running on hind legs while holding food in hands), we (perhaps) began our evolution into walking upright.

With this evolution, our pelvises changed, and giving birth became more challenging. Chimp brain size was also increasing, which added to birth-difficulty. So we adapted by giving birth earlier. Therefore human babies are way more helpless and needy than newborns of other primates.

This added neediness made male-involvement very welcome. In chimpanzee society, males customarily give gifts and lavish extra attention on sexually-receptive females. As we evoloved, females with needy young recognized the value in increasing their sexual receptivity, so they could benefit from this extra male attention.

Another factor that contributed to the greater "sexiness" of our species, may have been our upright posture, which made sexual organs more visible, and also made sexual activity more face-to-face and intimate. Sex became a way of enhancing bonds.

In this context, it's easy to see how it could be beneficial, for some people, to form sexual bonds with others of the same sex. These bonds, whether between opposite-sex partners or same-sex partners, greatly increased the likelihood of babies surviving into adulthood.

Thus human sexuality has evolved from being just about procreation, to being more about bonding, meeting one another's needs, and forming partnerships that promote the life and well-being of the couples involved, as well as the life and well-being of everyone in the family and community.

Please discuss!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#2 of 17 Old 12-06-2008, 04:57 PM
 
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I don't have time to read the whole article, but I thought we were actually more related to the bonobo ape, which is similar to a chimp but has a more complex social structure. I also have read that they have a radically different sexual culture, in that each member of the group has sex recreationally and not necessarily according to ranking in the group. Sex is almost used as currency, and as a reward for certain acts. I do find it fascinating that human culture evolved so differently, since I don't personally believe we're well suited to monogamy.

I want to be a bonobo, is why I bring it up.
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#3 of 17 Old 12-06-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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<snip >Another factor that contributed to the greater "sexiness" of our species, may have been our upright posture, which made sexual organs more visible, and also made sexual activity more face-to-face and intimate.
Ive heard that before and it makes sense to me. Except for the part above. seems to have done the opposite.
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#4 of 17 Old 12-06-2008, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, Casey, I've never even heard of the bonobo ape -- I'll have to go look it up!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#5 of 17 Old 12-06-2008, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ive heard that before and it makes sense to me. Except for the part above. seems to have done the opposite.
You mean the upright posture has done the opposite -- how so?

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#6 of 17 Old 12-06-2008, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, Casey, I've never even heard of the bonobo ape -- I'll have to go look it up!
Just did a quick look-up -- did you know that bonobos are considered a species of chimpanzee? I'll have to learn more about them!

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#7 of 17 Old 12-06-2008, 06:14 PM
 
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Well, at least for the female of the species. Who are the pursued. Our genitals are virtually invisable when upright - at least the good parts - the parts that evidence arousal. So men cant take a look anytime they want, get our scent, etc...

Take any other female mamal walking on all fours. her bits are pretty much open to inspection. Ive only ever seen a female dog in heat but you can tell shes ready to breed just by looking at her girl bits.

I read once that full, pink lips on a woman are a desireable genetic trait because they mimic the visual of engorged labia that the males can use determine which females are ready to mate.
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#8 of 17 Old 12-06-2008, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! I never thought of it that way!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#9 of 17 Old 12-07-2008, 02:56 AM
 
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I did just want to comment that we are not decended from chimpanzees or bonobos, but rather, we are their "cousins" so to speak, we are related by a previous hominid common ancestor species (which is now extinct). I just bring this up because many people have a hard time even listening to evolutionary theory when they are hearing we are decended from chimps...kwim? Otherwise, what you are saying is basically on target. Sexual relationships evolved to increase security in pair-bonds when such bonds became beneficial to the survival of the offspring. The hormones (oxytocin) generated by sex contribute to emotional bonding.

Have you read about the monogamous voles? Seems they have extra oxytocin receptors in their addiction centers of their brains, which makes them addicted to their mate. Their non-monogamous cousin voles don't have these, so will be promiscuous. The additional oxytocin receptors have been found in every monogamous species looked at so far. I personally find these molecular mechanisms quite fascinating, but I'm dorky like that!

As far as how this knowledge impacts our understanding of sexuality, it definitely supports the Catholic idea of BOTH unitive and procreative. It explains why all humans are emotionally benefitted by positive sexual relationships regardless of the couple's ability to reproduce, as well.

Oh yes, as to the question of concealed ovulation in human females, one can also look at offspring survival benefits for answers to the question. If the male is not sure when she is ovulating (and she isn't either) then they need to stay bonded and mated together all the time to ensure that the offsping is his, and he knows is investing his energy into his own child, so he will do a good job. Also it reduces the chance of violence if males would fight over an ovulating female. Also did you ever wonder why women who live together cycle together? This is so the males will compete less if there are plenty of fertile females to go around... Also they will get pregnant at the same time, so if one dies, the others can nurse her baby!

thanks for an interesting topic - as a biologist, and particularly my focus in grad school was primate reproductive behavioral endocrinology, this is a subject I have studied probably more than most people ever should! but its fascinating and I encourage everyone to learn about evolution! it is not in contradiction to God as the creator (although it does require one to let go of a wholly literal interpretation of Genesis...)
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#10 of 17 Old 12-07-2008, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for clarifying, Holly! Yeah, I guess I have this tendency to over-summarize all those millions of years of evolution, and over-simplify. It's just a huge time-span to try to take in.

And, yes, I totally agree that evolution is not in contradiction to God as creator. Also, interestingly, it was after I let go of the literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2, that I started coming to a deeper understanding of the meaning of the fall, and what sin is.

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#11 of 17 Old 12-07-2008, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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HI! For anyone who's interested, I read the preface of this book that I linked to in the OP -- and the author was referring to the earth as "Gaia" --

Well, I'd previously heard that Gaia was a "religion" that teaches that humans are a blight on Mother Earth. But the stuff I was reading in Chapter 3 didn't seem to describe us that way ... so I decided to begin my own research on Gaia, and I've started a thread about it here (relating it to my Christian faith). Here's the link for anyone interested --

http://mothering.com/discussions/sho....php?t=1009508

Anyhow, please continue on with our human sexuality discussion! I feel like I'm learning so much. Especially interesting is the author's theory that the increased face-to-face sexual contact probably stimulated more kissing, which probably resulted in the increased facial development that paved the way for language development ...

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#12 of 17 Old 12-07-2008, 05:35 PM
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Well, at least for the female of the species. Who are the pursued. Our genitals are virtually invisable when upright - at least the good parts - the parts that evidence arousal. So men cant take a look anytime they want, get our scent, etc...

Take any other female mamal walking on all fours. her bits are pretty much open to inspection. Ive only ever seen a female dog in heat but you can tell shes ready to breed just by looking at her girl bits.

I read once that full, pink lips on a woman are a desireable genetic trait because they mimic the visual of engorged labia that the males can use determine which females are ready to mate.

I've read that studies show that women who wear lipstick will subconsciously wear deeper, redder shades of lipstick while they are ovulating to mimic the other lips.
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#13 of 17 Old 12-07-2008, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! Now I'm wondering if my other lips change color!

By the way, I was finally able to get back in to fix the above link to the Christianity and Gaia thread.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#14 of 17 Old 01-12-2009, 09:01 PM
 
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Also, interestingly, it was after I let go of the literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2, that I started coming to a deeper understanding of the meaning of the fall, and what sin is.
I'm curious about your interpretation of the fall, and of sin.
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#15 of 17 Old 01-12-2009, 09:03 PM
 
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Your lips definitely change color. They change color throughout the monthly cycle, throughout the life cycle, and during the process of arousal and orgasm. They can be a dusky blue or more of a purple, or red, or pink. it's crazy to me.
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#17 of 17 Old 01-13-2009, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm curious about your interpretation of the fall, and of sin.
I believe sin entered the world when some people started utilizing a type of knowledge that went against the laws of nature. We'd evolved to the point where we started realizing there were ways to get control of the food supply, rather than just trusting God to meet our needs day to day, and ultimately this knowledge created scarcity, because we upset the natural balance, and it led to some people having more resources and power, and lording it over others.

I don't think the sin lay in man's attempts to gain some control and advantage in the ecosystem, rather the sin was that some people fell in love with the idea of having power over others. And this lust for power led some to be greatly abusive. I don't feel I'm explaining it very well, I guess I'm still evolving in my understanding, as always.

Much of this came together for me while I was reading Daniel Quinn's Story of B. I think Quinn and I come to some very different conclusions as to what this all means (i.e. I don't think he's a Christian), but it's eye opening the way he pulls together the different anthropological findings, and shows how they correspond to time of the fall recorded in Genesis.

Some people might feel that Quinn's writings pull people away from Christian faith, but I found them to be very confirming for my faith, at the same time that they got me to start re-thinking what it all really means.

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